Farm Queens gain wealth of knowledge at Nutramix seminar

Sunday, August 04, 2019

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As part of its mandate as the title sponsor for the National Farm Queen competition, Nutramix recently held its annual Farm Queen seminar to sensitise the 13 finalists about the agriculture sector.

The seminar was held at Medallion Hall in St Andrew under the theme 'Youth in Agriculture'. It saw presentations from two Nutramix Youth in Agriculture ambassadors Roshedo Williams and Jermaine Henry Tina Hamilton, brand manager for Nutramix, and Jacqueline Shaw Nicholson, communications and client services manager at Jamaica National Small Business Loan (JNSBL).

“The session was very informative and engaging. I like the fact that each speaker stood out with the content that they presented,” said 23-year-old Toni Kay Bromfield, a crop farmer from Mavis Bank who represents Kingston & St Andrew.

Miss Trelawny Danae Hyatt concurred. “I found the session exciting and quite informative. I really enjoyed it a lot because I was able to pull from the information which featured a wide array of knowledge from the agriculture industry.”

College of Agriculture, Science, and Education student Antonette Lowe, who represents the parish of Portland, said, “The environment was very comfortable and it made the information that the speakers presented a lot easier for me to understand and appreciate.”

Lowe is from Snow Hill in Portland. She said she entered the National Farm Queen competition to help young people in her parish appreciate and understand the importance of farming in contributing to the economy.

Hamilton explained the objectives behind the Farm Queen seminar.

“A part of our involvement with the Farm Queen franchise is to help ensure that the ladies are exposed to ideas outside of the norm,” she said. “Having an annual seminar tailored just for them allows Nutramix to plant seeds of inspiration from different areas of the industry for professional and personal growth. We also invited past farm queens to show what life can be after the competition and include wide ranging topics showing trends in the market. The openness of the seminar also allows them to ask questions of persons they would not normally encounter. This seminar is always seen as a highlight of their preparation for the Farm Queen competition.”

Shaw Nicholson, who spoke about climate smart agriculture during her presentation, said the sector is important to JNSBL.

“Agriculture is very important to us at the JNSBL. It is no doubt a key sector in our economy, and so we have been on a path to give whatever support we can, to help our farmers to strengthen their operations and to also bring innovation to farming,” she said.

“What Nutramix is doing with our farm queens, we believe is central to that, and to help encourage these ladies to go out and do even greater things through farming.”

Truddiann Ashmead Titus, the National Farm Queen for 2017, was on hand to give support and encouragement to the contestants.

“I think it was critical for me to be here. I don't think information should be withheld from the upcoming generation. I have a duty and responsibility to pass on the information to ensure that we are all on the same page and to help these ladies to understand agriculture in Jamaica and how they can make their mark,” she said.

Youth in Agriculture Ambassador Henry, who is CEO of FlowFacto, a company that provides financing to farmers and exporters to help grow their businesses, said he was pleased to be a part of the proceedings.

“It was very important for me to participate in an event of this nature because what I presented provided a different perspective for agriculture to persons who are interested in providing value added to the sector,” he said.

The day after the seminar, Nutramix facilitated a tour of Imagination Farms for the contestants.

“Imagination Farms is a facility showcasing advanced technology in the agriculture industry. On this trip they visited the company's tunnel ventilated broiler houses and saw first-hand what it takes to run a first world facility that is internationally certified. It is important for the ladies to be exposed to the possibilities that lie within the country and have an understanding of how far we can go into global competition. Visits like this inspire them to promote change in their own communities and to get involved in something larger than themselves,” said Hamilton.

Contestant Sashane Gooden, an 18-year-old student of Knockalva Polytechnic College who represents the parish of St James, was impressed. “The tour of Imagination Farms was interesting and a learning experience. They had technology that I didn't know existed in Jamaica. We interacted with chickens and learnt how their business operate and how the company contributes to the economy. For me, it was a once in a lifetime experience,” she said.

The two days of activities came to a climax with lunch at former Champion Farmer Jade Lee's The Farm at Little Orchard in Linstead.

The finals of the National Farm Queen Competition takes place tomorrow at Denbigh Agricultural, Industrial and Food Show.


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